Beware of phone scam triggered by question ‘Can you hear me now?’

A phone scam has surfaced which relies on your voice to answer a simple question — “Can you hear me now”?

Those are the words to watch out for as scammers are trying to bait callers into simply answering “yes.”

Better Business Bureau of Hawaii CEO Greg Dunn says “when they record you saying ‘yes,’ with today’s technology, they can then preface that ‘yes’ by saying ‘we’re recording this call and you understand that you are going to be purchasing one year of advanced Google ad words SEO program for 599. That’s $599, is that correct?'”

Dunn says that acknowledgement can be used against you to make it sound like you authorized a purchase or service, such as on your cell phone or utility bill. And there’s a chance you could be on the hook for those charges.

“It really catches you off guard,” Dunn said, “because you were polite, were friendly, ‘oh yes, yes, yes, I can hear you, who is this?'”

Dunn says scammers may also be trying to see if the phone number they’re dialing is a working one, and that may result in more phone calls.

Now, if you’ve fallen for the scam, Dunn says you should check your credit card, bank, and utility statements for any unauthorized charges.

The Better Business Bureau of Hawaii says to be on the alert for questions that are designed to solicit a “yes” answer. Also consider joining the Do Not Call Registry which may help cut down on the number of unsolicited phone calls.

But the best way to prevent from becoming a victim is to simply hang up.

If you think you’ve spotted a business or heard an offer that sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud, you can use the BBB Scam Tracker.

And if you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., or send an email to

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